How to Cultivate Hope

cultivation

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Pet 3:15)

We Christians ought to be a hope-filled people but a mixed-up gospel has made us a wishful people. We ought to be strong in the faith but religion has weakened us with disappointment.

If you’ve been disillusioned and disenchanted, the good news is that God has hope for you, a good hope, the kind that lasts. Where is this hope found? In his grace: “God our Father has given us good hope by grace” (2 Th 2:16).

Hope is a rope that links us to a truth not yet experienced. Your hope is only as good as the truth to which it is attached. Below are six truths that will fill you with strong hope. Ruminate on these truths. Let them take root in your heart and you will never be disappointed.

1. The Maker of heaven and earth is your Father

God has adopted you into his family. You are not a soldier or a servant but a son, dearly loved.

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:5)

Don’t ask God to give you hope; ask him to reveal his love. He will! He has! To know his love is to know that your Father can be trusted. He has promised to take care of you, to watch over you, to supply all your needs, so expect good things from him. Here is Brennan Manning writing in The Ragamuffin Gospel:

Abba is not our enemy. If we think that, we are wrong. Abba is not intent on trying and tempting and testing us. If we think that, we are wrong. Abba does not prefer and promote suffering and pain. If we think that, we are wrong. Jesus brings good news about the father, not bad news. We need a new kind of relationship with the Father that drives out fear and mistrust and anxiety and guilt, that permits us to be hopeful and joyous, trusting and compassionate. We have to be converted from the bad news to the good news, from expecting nothing to expecting something. (p.76)

2. Nothing can separate you from his love

In this world you may suffer for your mistakes. You may get fired, rejected, divorced, even killed. But your Father will never write you off when you make a bad choice. His grace is greater than your sin.

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Rom 8:38-39, MSG)

Paul was absolutely convinced about God’s love; you need to be convinced too. You need to trust his love, cling to it, never forget it. Everything else will pass away, but his love endures forever. It’s the one thing you can hang onto.

3. You are one with Christ

The believer who is assured of his union with the Lord will have a strong confidence, for the Lord’s future is his future.

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)

You need to get this. You need to shout it aloud: “Christ’s future is my future.” When you get this it will totally change the way you live today. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Spurgeon writing in All of Grace:

Dwell much upon this partnership with the Son of God, unto which you have been called: for all your hope lies there. You can never be poor while Jesus is rich, since you are in one firm with him. Want can never assail you, since you are joint-proprietor with him who is possessor of heaven and earth. You can never fail; for though one of the partners in the firm is as poor as a church mouse, and in himself an utter bankrupt who could not pay even a small amount of his heavy debts, yet the other partner is inconceivably, inexhaustibly rich. In such partnership you are raised above the depression of the times, the changes of the future, and the shock of the end of all things. The Lord has called you into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ, and by that act and deed He has put you into the place of infallible safeguard. (p.118)

4. In Christ, you are eternally secure

When you know the love of your heavenly Father, and when you are convinced of your union with Christ, you will have no fear of falling or being cast away.

He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful… (1 Cor 1:8-9)

The Lord’s future is your future. Since Jesus is eternally secure, you are eternally secure. Believe it!

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, (2 Th 2:16)

The comfort and hope religion gives you is fleeting and weak, but the comfort and hope that God provides is eternal and good. All this is to the glory of his grace and faithfulness.

5. God helps us in our helplessness

“This is all very nice, Paul. But I gotta pay the bills and feed the kids. What does this mean for me today?”

Read the Sermon on the Mount and you will see that Jesus is speaking to anxious people. They’re worried about food. They’re living with crop failures and thieving tax collectors and oppressing Romans.

What does Jesus do? He gives them hope. “Don’t be like the pagans who worry about this stuff, for the God who feeds the animals will feed you.”

Jesus gives them hope then he gives them food! He feeds the five thousand and the four thousand. He addresses their physical hunger as well as their deep spiritual hunger. “I am the bread of life.”

The faith you need for today comes from the bright hope you have for tomorrow, and hope comes from love. So if you have a need today, an area where you could be operating in faith, remind yourself of how much Daddy-God loves you. Don’t whine to God about your big problem. (He already knows.) Instead, talk to your mountain about the goodness of your heavenly Father who takes care of you, then watch those mountains fall!

6. God believes in you!

God not only takes care of your present needs, he nurtures your unrealized dreams.

Love… always hopes. (1 Cor 13:7)

The God who sees the end from the beginning has a rock-solid hope in you. That hope is not based on your potential, but on reality. For you it’s just a dream, but he has already seen it. It’s real, as good as done. Here’s Darrin Hufford writing in The Misunderstood God:

Not only do we need hope to survive, we need to know that God hopes in us as well. The moment we lose sight of this, we cease to matter in our own eyes. Every child searches their father’s eyes for hope and approval. We were not only created to have hope in our Father, but we were created to find hope in him as well. (p.181)

God has given you unique dreams, and he will help you realize them. He will turn setbacks into stepping stones and defeats into accomplishments.

What is your part in this? Guard your hope. Watch what you listen to. Don’t heed the lies of religion that contradict the truth of God’s word, and don’t be seduced by the empty dreams of this world.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:23)

Hope is the fruit of love so remain in his love and let nothing move you. When life shakes you and turns you upside down, wrap your hope rope around the One who is faithful.

He will never let you down.

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24 Comments on How to Cultivate Hope

  1. So beautiful. Thank you Paul.

  2. It seems the more I know and believe this truth, there is no need to conjure up faith; it springs up like rivers of living water. And the more I fast from death (works – what do I have to do to become) and feed on life (who I am in Christ) the more I believe it. Thank you for sharing this great wisdom.

  3. How awesome if the “churches” preach this reassuring and powerful message, Paul.

  4. Thank you

  5. Samtungson // April 7, 2016 at 10:19 am // Reply

    Great message

  6. Hey Paul, great post as always, . I am glad I found you, but I should have found you ten years ago because Jesus is my Lord but I have heard over and over that I could lose my place with God so alot of the time my mind tells me I’m not a believer or that I’m going to fall beyond Gods grace but my heart tells me Im Secure. Could you please help me out with what’s going on with me?

    • Read this and renew your mind.

      • donbeeson // April 12, 2016 at 7:02 am //

        Just clicked on “this”. This was one of the first posts I read from you when I was devouring material from your site : ) This stuff doesn’t get old , because so many are still trapped in conditional security and works based performance. There is no joy and freedom in such living. I can attest to that after living that kind of existence for decades. Can’t help but wonder if that isn’t the reason the church for the most part remains in a Holy Huddle, fearing to share the gospel with others because it is so largely ineffective in their own lives.

  7. Thanks for this. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and a lot of spirit crushing obsessive thoughts. Even reading the bible has become difficult because I’ve so distracted.

  8. Amen. Hope is one of those words in the Bible that is so different from our current definition that I think we need a new word for biblical Hope. In our culture hope is like crossing our fingers, as you said, wishful thinking. Biblical Hope is more like a grounded expectation. The only reason we call it hope is that it hasn’t happened YET or we don’t have it NOW. But we expect it because He promised it. We then live with an expectation the same way we expect the sun to come up tomorrow.

  9. Holly Meadows // April 8, 2016 at 8:12 am // Reply

    This is wonderful advice! I appreciate the belief in, loyalty to and respect for our Savior that your writing represents. It helps me find clarity in my understanding of Jesus.
    ~Thank you, Paul!

  10. LOVING this hope series Paul !! #Gold

  11. Paul do you have any teachings on tithing, and sowing and reaping, giving?

  12. Just Wonderful! My hope is built on nothing less but Jesus Christ and Righteousness.

  13. Hi paul. Cool article. Makes me hopeful. Glad i found this site. I searched your site but couldn’t find the answer i was looking for to two questions. They are just two simple ones, because i am new to this whole grace and gospel party.

    I have trusted and believed the good news with my heart about a month ago, am i supposed to feel a certain way, like a chill or shake or something? I still feel like me.

    And also, there are mixed things on the internet thst say im supposed to start prophesying and speaking in toungues, hasnt happened yet? Did i do something wrong?

    Thanks.

    • No, you did nothing wrong. Sounds like you did everything right! Watch what you read and take care you don’t fall under the spell of manmade expectations. In the words of a certain general, “It’s a trap!” Make Jesus and his work your focus and you can’t go wrong (Heb 12:2).

  14. Do you need more comments telling you how life-giving and awesome and encouraging this post is?
    Well, here’s one anyway.🙂

  15. Thank you so much – I really needed to hear this : )

  16. Outstanding Paul! Love this!

  17. Thank you Paul – your article is reassuring. I am a new Christian as of this week, having intellectually wandered back to Christianity as the only option h(after 22 years mostly in New Age movement). It’s only been a week and I am feeling terribly lonely and isolated in my renewed faith. If there is anything you can recommend I read I would be very grateful. I am concerned about going to church because of the charismatic evangelical upbringing i had as a teenager.

    • Hi Malise. Anything I can recommend you read? How about the 400+ articles here on E2R or one of the 60 books I’ve reviewed? That should keep you going for a while. I also encourage you to join the conversation on E2R’s FB page. There you will meet many like-minded followers of Jesus.

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